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Safe Surgery

Safe surgery checklist

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​​​​​​​​​What is the Safe Surgery Checklist (SSC)?​

The SSC is a tool your surgical team uses to make sure there’s good and accurate communication when you’re having surgery. The SSC is used 1) when you’re being prepared for surgery, 2) before the surgeon begins your operation, and 3) before you go to the recovery room. As the patient, you’re part of that team.

Doesn’t Alberta Health Services already have steps in place to keep me safe?

Yes, but rather than talk about patient safety, Alberta Health Services has taken your safety one step further and created an Alberta-specific version of the SSC first created by the World Health Organization.

How does using the SSC improve my care?

The SSC makes sure that 1) there is good communication between you and your healthcare providers, and 2) your healthcare providers are communicating with each other. We know that better communication lowers the risk of anything going wrong.

What’s my role in the SSC?

The SSC was created for you. Without you, there is no SSC. It begins while you’re being prepared for surgery. Different healthcare providers at different times will ask you your name, birthdate, if you have allergies, and other important questions. They’ll make sure that the checklist matches what you’ve told them.

This phase is also important because it gives you a chance to ask questions and build a relationship of trust with your surgical team.

Where can I learn more about the SSC?

You can ask your doctor more about the SSC. You can also go to

This information is available in pdf in the following versions and languages.

Current as of: June 1, 2022

Author: Surgery Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services